The importance of Hydration

Posted by SportsMed NQ, 8 January 2015








The importance of Hydration

 Most of us recognise the importance of drinking more water in warmer months and it’s easy to forget to keep hydrated. Adequate hydration is essential for all of us, regardless of how active we are. Whether you work in an office, play sport or just trying to stay healthy, maintaining a sufficient water intake is crucial. Water is essential to keep your body operating properly as hydration improves nutrient absorption, regulates pH balance and body temperature, lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products, improves mental focus, boosts your immune system, and maintains skin elasticity. It also contributes to the prevention of muscle spasms and lubricates your joints.

Keeping up your water intake can provide relief from the following symptoms of dehydration:

• Tiredness in the afternoon at work • Fatigue and general lethargy

• Problems with your concentration

• Headaches • Dry mouth (xerostomia)

• Muscle cramps

How to detect dehydration

Elite athletes use special equipment such as light refractometers and urinalysis for specific hydration level measurement. For the average person, a simple way to monitor your hydration status is using the urine colour chart.

Hyrdation chart


If your colour urine matches 1 – 3 you are adequately hydated.



If your urine matches 4 – 8 you need to drink more fluids.

Note: Vitamin supplements can affect the colour of urine for a few hours making it bright yellow or discoloured.



How Much Should I Drink?

The general recommendation is to consume 8 glasses or roughly 2 litres over the course of a normal day, however increased demand on the body obviously requires increased hydration.

Sports Medicine Australia recommends the average person drinks about two cups of water in the 2 hours before exercising. For exercise lasting 60 minutes or longer, Sports Medicine Australia recommends 2-3 cups (500-750 ml) of cool water or sports drink per hour.

Some helpful pointers to ensure drinking water becomes a part of your day include:

• Drink a glass of water before every meal (gives you 3 glasses of water per day straight away) • Have a glass of water at your work desk at all times • Buy a good water bottle and take this when you head out • If you feel hungry during the day, have a glass of water first. Often hunger is a sign of thirst!

Hydration and Physiotherapy

It might surprise you to learn that keeping properly hydrated can speed up your recovery and help you to feel better overall throughout the course of your physiotherapy treatment. Consuming sufficient amounts of water helps to minimize lactic acid build up, which is produced by your muscles as you exercise and considerably contributes to stiffness and soreness following exercise. Therefore good hydration can help soften tight muscles and reduce your pain. The body is made of up to 70 percent water. The benefits of hydration are huge and can greatly assist your physiotherapy treatment. So for better health, don’t forget to drink more during the summer (and winter) months.


Written by Kyle Whebell IMG_2477_1

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